Sing Sing Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in New York state, may see its adjacent power plant turned into a prison museum in the near future, supporters say. Though many prisons in America have been converted into visitors' sites, this would be one of few nationwide with the adjoining facilities still open.
The power plant once supplied electricity for the electric chair at the Ossining, N.Y.-based prison. Plans for a museum at the prison were enacted as early as 2005, but had never gone into effect due to the economic crisis. Now, with New York state budgets focusing on tourism and construction, the plans have been resurrected.
Via the Associated Press:
Supporters envision thousands of tourists streaming "up the river" from New York to see artifacts including "Old Sparky," as the chair was known; a metal "head cage" used when prisoners were transported; and a display of prisoners' weapons, from axes made in metal shop to shivs fashioned from plastic forks.
Arthur Wolpisnky, the prison's historian and a correctional officer at the facility, believes that the museum will be a big draw. "Electrocutions, riots, escape attempts. And so much has changed over the years. Inmates can have cable TV in their cells now," he said.
The power plant is separated from the prison facility by high wall topped with guard tower, and unlike the Angola Museum at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, visitors will not get a tour of the prison itself.
Supporters of the museum say that the Sing Sing power plant museum could get up to 250,000 visitors a year.